Back to School Essentials
Updated: Mar 15, 2020
It's that time of year again! You guessed it, Back to School. This may mean something different to me next year as I plan to soon be back in the workforce full time. But for now, this still means, "Yay! The kids are in school!" Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my children. And the recent loss of a friend makes each moment as a family a just little more cherished. It's just that, well, I enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house as well. If you can at all relate, I'd like to share some tips and tricks to help you get full use out of those quiet moments... and how to might manage those "other" moments as well.
Routine. From having healthy sleep habits to getting daily exercise, routine is key to making your life work well. Be sure to take some undistracted time each day (or at least one day early in the week) that you put all your ducks in a row. Double check that the carpool situation is squared away and book that babysitter for next month's event. Some things to consider when looking at your weekly/monthly calendar...
Sleep. It is helpful for your body to rise at the same time each day and go to sleep at the same time (even on weekends) in order to help you fall asleep (and STAY asleep) for the night. Avoid electronics at least 30 minutes prior to bed (those nasty blue lights prevent the release of melatonin, especially in teenagers) and set your smart phone on airplane mode if you need to have it near you through the night (for less exposure to EMF radiation which causes insomnia, among other health issues). Diffusing or applying some essential oils can aid in the settling down process as well. Try using oils such as lavender, valerian, or roman chamomile until you find what works best for you. Or give A Mother's Nature Bedtime Blend a go.
Exercise. Find a way to fit it in. If you have to walk the stairs of your office building for a mid-morning break or get up early to hit the gym, make it part of your routine. Not only is it good for your body, but it will also improve your mental health and mood. And, let's face it, who doesn't want to be in a better mood?! Apply Energy or Focus essential oil blend to give you an extra boost along the way.
Nourishment. You have to eat and so do the kids... apparently nine times a day in some cases. So, get into a routine with eating a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even if you follow an intermittent fast, you'll want to have the right foods on hand for when you are ready to eat. This will also keep you from making poor food choices or resorting to fast food. I cannot state enough how planning your meal ahead of time helps get you through the sheer stress of putting food on the table. Nothing is worse than trying to chop vegetables while the kids are running around the house with nerf guns screaming their heads off. Or, wait. Is that just my house? Regardless, having a plan for dinner (and prepping ahead of time) will allow for a smoother "dinner hour" and enjoyable family time each night. And just in case you are having one of those days despite your best efforts, a little roll of peppermint on the temples comes in handy!
Meal Planning. I like to take a few hours on Sunday or Monday to draft out 5-7 meals for the week. We generally do not eat out but if you do, put those meals in the plan as well. Check your fridge, freezer and pantry for ingredients that you need to use up soon then make your list. Depending on the week, I may shop at Costco, Aldi, Trader Joe's and Meijer all in the same day to get the best prices and/or our favorite items for the month. Most times, its just Meijer because who has time for ALL that, really? But while shopping, check the meat department for sales and discounted close-to-expiration items that you can freeze for next week or swap out in your meal plan. Here is an example of a weekly Sloan Dinner plan. I keep this picture frame (with wet erase marker) on my desk and in plain sight for everyone. It's helpful to refer to regularly so I remember to take the appropriate meat out of the freezer or start the crock pot if needed. We do at least one crock pot meal each week (or soup/sandwiches) on Wednesday evening when all 3 kids have an activity to get off to and we only have 38 minutes to eat together as a family.
My husband also likes to know what the plan is so that he doesn't inadvertantly make himself a salmon burger for lunch on a day I've planned grilled salmon for dinner. You should rotate your proteins, as he would say. For recipe ideas, follow me on Allrecipes.com and start your own collection of favorite go-to meals. Once you have about 20-30 tried and true meal options, this gets super easy!
Vitamins/Supplements. There are some that believe if you eat healthy enough there is no need for supplemental vitamins. I can tell you, my family eats a wide variety of meats, fruits, and veggies, and we come no where close to the daily recommended consumption for most vitamins. Be sure to add, at a minimum, a daily vitamin to your routine. I also like to take extra Vitamin D with K (especially in the winter!!) and a probiotic. When anyone in the family starts to show symptoms of a weakened immune system, everyone in the family will go on our "immune boosting" routine which includes homemade elderberry syrup, YL Ningxia Red shots, and the twice daily application of Immunity Blend.
Flexibility. No matter how much planning and preparation you do, there will always be an unexpected change or problem. Don't let it ruin your day or week; try to just roll with it! If you find that hard to do, perhaps you'll want to invest in a Stress Relief blend for those moments. ;-) Regardless of what comes your way, you can do it! Let's just master this school year... summer break is a whole new monster.